Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Iowa GOP Targets State Senate Seats

The Iowa Republican Runs State Senate Target List

Craig Robinson at The Iowa Republican, as close to an Official blog as it gets, runs a list of the party's top seven state senate targets for 2010.

2010 is a weird year because of the way redistricting works. We don't even know which or how many seats are up in 2012 and who gets two year vs. four year terms in 2010. Some of the 2010 senators may get their terms cut short if they get paired.

The climb is steep from a 32-18 deficit, with the seats on the 2010 ballot checking in as 19 Democrats to only six Republicans. Here's the `06 returns (.pdf); thorough detail but as for me I like having percentages handy.

Republicans may have to play a little defense, too; Larry Noble of Ankeny had a close 2006 race and Dave Hartsuch barely won Maggie Tinsman's moderate GOP district after bumping her off in the primary. His failed Congressional bid may have helped his name ID, but not necessarily in a good way.

But Robinson is in an optimistic mood and playing offense, so let's look at his list. Remember, they have to sweep these, AND hold all their own, to take control.

Some of these names are easy. Landslide Rich Olive? Sure. Our own Becky Schmitz? Yeah, I can see that.

But others are more, well, interesting arguments. Robinson paints the Staci Appel race as a surrogate fight on gay marriage and her husband Justice Brent Appel's vote for it on the Supreme Court.

A couple are sheer fantasy. The seventh pickup Robinson says the GOP needs for control? Amanda Ragan of Mason City, who won with 72 percent last time. And who's the guy to do it? Bill Salier, the holy warrior of the 2002 Senate primary.

The most intriguing notion is Robinson's take on Keith Kreiman's Ottumwa-based District 47, where he touts none other than... Mariannette Miller-Meeks. That's a creative, turf-expanding idea, since she did run well in the southern tier in her congressional race. Though not as well as Republican bloggers hoped, as she was everyone's pick for Upset Of The Year No Really She's Gonna Win I Just Know It.

(Speaking of which, failed GOP Senate primary candidate Steve Rathje is in my inbox again with another appeal for a congressional "exploratory" committee that looks more and more like a go.)

MMM has kept her profile up since the loss last fall, but a quick peek at her intermittently updated blog shows her still focused on federal issues.

So Robinson's put a brave face on things in his must-read piece, but the more realistic Republican target, as in 2008, is the House. Here's hoping we get a list for that chamber too.

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